Party will launch fringe programme

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Buxton Festival Fringe will toast the launch of its 52-page programme with an open-to-all party.

The celebration is at the town’s The Green Man Gallery on Sunday, June 5, from 6.30pm-9.30pm.

The event will feature light refreshments and music from Fringe performers plus a chance to sign up as a Fringe Friend for offers and invitations throughout the year plus 10% off ticket prices.

Entries for the Fringe closed in April with 148 entrants signing up offering nearly 500 individual performances throughout the town.

Now in its 37th year, the biggest UK Fringe between Edinburgh and Brighton takes place between July 6 and 24 in parallel with the Buxton Festival and features substantial theatre, comedy and music sections as well as dance, film, for families, spoken word, street theatre, film, visual arts and more in venues ranging from a state-of-the-art theatre to a cave.

Entrants come from all over the UK and beyond with established stars such as Radio 4 comedians Max and Ivan, cop-turned-comic Alfie Moore and controversial comedian/magician Jerry Sadowitz (who last kicked up a storm in the Buxton Fringe in 1989) joining a host of up-and-coming young performers on route for Edinburgh.

Meanwhile Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary is marked by many performers with returning company Butterfly performing Romeo and Juliet in the atmospheric setting of Poole’s Cavern.

With over a third of entrants hailing from SK or ST postcodes, it is clear there is a large amount of local talent too. Highlights from Buxton include home-grown Three’s Company back with a new Jane Austen spoof, Nonsense and Sensibility following their West End run of Boris: World King, plus, from a packed Music category, Les Trois Amies, Sam Slide, Herding Catz Blues, Peak District String Orchestra and Wind Band, Club Acoustic and (also performing at the programme launch party) Will Hawthorne.

In other categories, local treats include Cul-de-sac theatre, award-winning REC Youth Theatre, Buxton Drama League with an unseasonal panto, High Peak Magic Society, and local artists such as Adrienne and Langley Brown, Ilsa Elford, Paula Hobdey and Louise Jannetta.

Some eagerly-awaited newcomers to the Fringe include local crime writer Stephen Booth in the expanded Spoken Word section, and the innovative Baby Loves Disco, a tots’ party extravaganza at Buxton’s Level 2 nightclub! The Fringe has become known for its wonderful variety, boasting a perfume-making workshop from Buxton Spa Aromatics, a chance to meet Vera Brittain at the Dome courtesy of Discover Buxton Tours, and a festival within a festival in the outlying village of Chelmorton.

Underground Venues, responsible for much of the Fringe’s comedy and theatre, will be be marking the end of an era as they use the Paupers Pit at the Old Hall Hotel for the last time; it will be out of action because of the Crescent redevelopment.

Buxton Fringe’s philosophy is that art is for all and Fringe organisers spread the word by entering a float in the Buxton Carnival and promoting a free open-air showcase of Fringe events called Fringe Sunday (this year July 10). Fringe at Five, a busking opportunity for performers; takes place at the Bandstand in Buxton’s Pavilion Gardens at 5pm from July 11-23. Many other events are free, including most of the Visual Arts section, and these are listed on the website’s Fringe for Free page.

The Fringe, a member of BAFA and the Derbyshire festivals organisation Festivity, also conducts community initiatives such as providing work experience for local students and encouraging entrants to perform in schools, care homes and youth organisations.

The free printed programme will be widely distributed from the beginning of June. Events are fully listed on the Fringe website www.buxtonfringe.org.uk.